Timothy Snyder on the US through eyes of Russian propaganda

June 17,2024 305
Timothy Snyder on the US through eyes of Russian propaganda

by Timothy Snyder, American historian, an expert on Central and Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, and the Holocaust

Russian propaganda is in the shadow of America. Whereas the America only covers Russia when there is something to cover, and usually not even then, Russian propaganda television starts every night from the premise that whatever has happened that day is America’s doing and America’s fault. This does not reflect reality – or a typical American’s experience of reality.

It does reflect the problem that Russian propaganda is meant to solve. Since Vladimir Putin is the boss of bosses in an oligarchical regime where domestic policy is impossible, the propagandists must direct attention to the world beyond Russia in a way that makes Russia’s leadership seem righteous.

Russian propagandists do this in the confidence that no one beyond Russia is watching. But Julia Davis has been, to the great benefit of us all. Thanks to her new book, In Their Own Words, we can understand the propagandists’ job description, but also the tensions they feel when the outside world causes them problems. 

Their basic posture is that America is in a constant war with the Russian Federation. Because Russia cannot fight and cannot win any actual war of that description, the propagandists are most comfortable when America is turned against itself. They talk almost never about Russian domestic politics, but obsess over every piece of evidence of American domestic weakness.

Read the full text at the link.

Cover: Stringer/AFP Credit: TNS

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